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Responsible banking in the wake of the royal commission

Responsible banking

​​​As ethical investors, UCA Funds Management continually engage with Australian banks over responsible banking issues. However, the misconduct uncovered by the banking royal commission has moved the whole banking sector to our watchlist for possible investment exclusion.

As the royal commission has progressed, we have engaged with the ‘Big 4’ banks to express our deep concern over misconduct and unethical behaviour. These meetings have specifically focused on compensation and timeliness of payments for misconduct, changes in company culture, realignment of incentive structures, and improving management and board oversight.

Also in response to the royal commission, we hosted an Ethical Consulting Group forum on the topic in June. The forum generated wide-ranging conversations on how we balance the positive and negative aspects of assessing a financial institution.

In most cases, the response by the banks has been swift and we are pleased to see clear changes underway such as:

  • Implementation of values-based performance indicators
  • Fixed/variable pay ratio changes
  • Increased assurance and audits of lending and financial advice
  • Higher emphasis on remediation and preventative controls

As of August 2018, UCA Funds Management had met with each of the Big 4 banks. We will continue to engage with them as they improve their policies and procedures, working towards a more trustworthy banking culture.


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